How Saudi Arabia is reshaping transportation infrastructure amid climate change challenges

A 2022 report by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, titled ‘Mitigating Transportation Emissions in Saudi Arabia,’ revealed that the transportation sector accounts for 33.33 percent of global energy consumption. (SPA)
A 2022 report by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, titled ‘Mitigating Transportation Emissions in Saudi Arabia,’ revealed that the transportation sector accounts for 33.33 percent of global energy consumption. (SPA)
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Updated 20 January 2024
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How Saudi Arabia is reshaping transportation infrastructure amid climate change challenges

How Saudi Arabia is reshaping transportation infrastructure amid climate change challenges
  • Strategically positioned between Europe and Asia, Saudi Arabia boasts an extensive network of operational facilities

RIYADH: In the face of escalating climate change challenges, Saudi Arabia is spearheading a transformation of its transportation sector with a series of groundbreaking initiatives.

As the Middle East and North Africa region grapples with surging population growth, rapid urbanization, and a burgeoning middle class, the strain on existing infrastructure and transportation networks has reached critical levels.

In response, Saudi Arabia is not only addressing these challenges head-on but also setting a compelling example for the world.




A 2022 report by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, titled ‘Mitigating Transportation Emissions in Saudi Arabia,’ revealed that the transportation sector accounts for 33.33 percent of global energy consumption. (SPA)

According to the World Bank’s 2020 findings, the region requires annual investments of at least $100 billion for the next five to ten years. These investments are essential to sustain existing infrastructure and address sector bottlenecks.

Saudi Arabia, strategically positioned between Europe and Asia and playing a central role in the global energy market, boasts an extensive network of operational facilities.

A 2022 report by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, titled “Mitigating Transportation Emissions in Saudi Arabia,” revealed that the transportation sector accounts for 33.33 percent of global energy consumption, ranking second only to the industrial sector.

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$100bn

According to the World Bank’s 2020 findings, the region requires annual investments of at least $100 billion for the next five to ten years. These investments are essential to sustain existing infrastructure and address sector bottlenecks.

Despite this, ongoing price controls and efficiency improvements aim to reduce the Kingdom’s annual transport emissions growth rate from 7 percent historically to 3 percent by 2030.

By 2030, carbon dioxide emissions from transportation are projected to reach 184 million tons.

Saudi Arabia is actively pursuing three major policy interventions, as outlined in a 2022 report by the Saudi Ports Authority, also known as Mawani, titled “Enabling Growth and Innovation Across the Saudi Maritime Sector.”




Abdulla Elyas, Co-founder of Careem

The first initiative focuses on transitioning new car sales to electric vehicles, with a goal of having these make up 30 percent of all automobiles in Riyadh by 2030.

The second policy centers on electrifying public transport vehicles, while the third employs incentive programs to steer consumers toward sustainable alternatives to private cars.

Saudi Arabia is building larger and more sustainable transport networks that will help reduce congestion and emissions.

Abdulla Elyas, Co-founder of Careem

Over the years, Saudi Arabia has taken major steps toward diminishing emissions and rationalizing energy demand.

Since 2015, the Kingdom has implemented domestic energy price reform as well as fiscal reform under the Fiscal Balance Program, the Mawani report revealed.

This works on making energy consumption more sustainable while boosting government revenues by raising energy prices, evident by the gradual surge in fuel prices in the country.

ENOWA, a subsidiary company of NEOM responsible for managing the giga-project’s sustainable energy and water systems, offers one demonstration of how Saudi Arabia is choosing to partner with nature in an attempt to boost its environmental practices.

“By harnessing the abundant sun and wind resources within NEOM, coupled with innovative storage solutions and smart grid technologies, ENOWA aims to scale energy generation in NEOM and spearhead the global supply of competitively priced power, reconfiguring the energy landscape prioritizing sustainability and affordability.” ENOWA CEO Peter Terium told Arab News.

ENOWA plays a fundamental role in infrastructure development in the Kingdom.




Peter Terium، ENOWA CEO

The company aspires to shape a sustainable and efficient energy landscape that significantly impacts all sectors of the economy including transportation, construction, and industrial manufacturing as well as water and waste treatment.

Meanwhile, the planned city of NEOM serves as a prime example of the Kingdom’s commitment to transforming transportation, mobility, and infrastructure to address climate change concerns.

ENOWA aims to scale energy generation in NEOM and spearhead the global supply of competitively priced power, reconfiguring the energy landscape prioritizing sustainability and affordability.

Peter Terium, ENOWA CEO

NEOM Mobility is revolutionizing the way individuals connect and travel by transforming the planned city into a sustainable, shared, and seamless experience via air, land, and sea.

Another activity that is gaining popularity in the Kingdom with regards to transportation while taking into consideration climate change is ride-hailing.

The two companies active in this area in Saudi Arabia are Careem and Uber, with the former launching in 2013 before expanding to reach 26 cities across the Kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia is building larger and more sustainable transport networks that will help reduce congestion and emissions,” co-founder of Careem Abdulla Elyas told Arab News.

Careem is helping to connect these networks through ride-hailing and micro mobility, Elyas explained.

He added: “Today, Saudi residents and visitors use Careem for a reliable, convenient, and stress-free everyday commute in and around their cities.”

When talking about future plans that are hinged on being eco-friendly and green, Elyas revealed the company’s Careem Bike launch.

“Launching Careem Bike in Madinah in partnership with ALMQR Development Co. is the next chapter of our journey to enhance mobility,” Elyas disclosed.

“We’re proud to support Saudi’s agenda for sustainability and the Vision 2030 goal of elevating quality of life in the Kingdom,” he added.

According to the co-founder, the docked bike stations in Madinah can be accessed with just a click of a button and are well connected to public transport and key landmarks.

“The Madinah Municipality has built 70 km of bicycle paths along main roads and inside residential neighborhoods,” he stressed.

Elyas further noted: “Careem Bike is a great option for first-mile and last mile connectivity - for example traveling from a train or bus station to one’s home or offices.”

Bikes can also be used for longer trips, and this is the benefit of having a large network of stations across a city, he clarified.

"Cycling is a great source of exercise and leisure for families and friends. We can already see how much people in Saudi enjoy spending time cycling and we’re excited to help encourage even healthier, more active lifestyles through our new network in Madinah,” Elyas highlighted.

“The service is inclusive and accessible for all. Customers can purchase a pass for their preferred use – daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Each pass offers unlimited 45-minute access,” he underlined.

Saudi Arabia’s sustainable transport plans are a vital part of the Kingdom’s drive to reduce global carbon emissions by 4 percent, said a government official speaking at the Global Sustainable Transport Forum held in Beijing from Sept. 25-26 2023.

At the time, the Saudi Transport and Logistics Services Minister, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, stressed that sustainability is a fundamental element of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.  

Al-Jasser underscored during his speech that the Kingdom’s strong commitment to sustainability has been smoothly incorporated into the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics.     

The plan includes reducing carbon emissions per person by 2 percent in a year, increasing sustainable mobility, electrifying transport and implementing them across the logistics value chain.

It also includes developing the necessary infrastructure to meet future demand, with the primary goal of minimizing traffic fatalities, the minister added at the time.

Under the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 reforms, in conjunction with the National Transformation Program and the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, the government is poised to inject $133.3 billion into the development of vital infrastructure, including ports, airports, and railways, all the way through to 2030.

This substantial financial commitment underscores Saudi Arabia’s dedication to reducing carbon emissions, with a strong focus on environmental responsibility as it brings these transformative projects to fruition.

 


Saudi tourism fund signs MoU for development of resorts in Kingdom

Saudi tourism fund signs MoU for development of resorts in Kingdom
Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi tourism fund signs MoU for development of resorts in Kingdom

Saudi tourism fund signs MoU for development of resorts in Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to witness the development of new luxury resorts as the Tourism Development Fund signed a memorandum of understanding with Karisma Hotels and Resorts International, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The signing took place at the International Hospitality Investment Forum in Berlin on Wednesday. The MoU seeks to explore opportunities for developing resorts and enhancing new areas of the tourism and hospitality sector in the Kingdom.

The agreement outlines a roadmap to determining a methodology for investing and providing financial and non-financial support to a vibrant ecosystem of investors, clients, and partners.

“The Tourism Development Fund is unlocking a great potential with Karisma Hotels and Resorts as we join forces to explore the feasibility of funding and supportive innovative projects that will significantly contribute to the growth of the tourism sector,” SPA quoted TDF CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri as saying.

The fund aims to connect the world with opportunities in the Kingdom’s fast-growing tourism sector. It offers financial and non-financial support to international and local investors.

“We are proud to announce the company’s significant entrance into Saudi Arabia with multiple hotel developments throughout the Kingdom in collaboration with our partners and local developers. Karisma will introduce first-of-its-kind experiential leisure hotels in partnership with worldwide acclaimed brands, bringing a new offering of leisure vacations to the Kingdom,” Esteban Velasquez, CEO of Karisma Hotels and Resorts, said.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector has revised its 2030 target to 150 million visitors, up from the initial 100 million.

The tourism sector has become important to the national economy, as spending on tourism by domestic and international tourists exceeded SR250 billion ($66.7 billion) in 2023. The sector is set to contribute 10 percent to the non-oil gross domestic product and create 1 million job opportunities by 2030. This spending represented more than 4 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP and 7 percent of the non-oil GDP, highlighting the significance of the tourism sector to the Kingdom’s economy.

During a panel discussion, Mahmoud Abdulhadi, deputy minister of investment attraction, underscored the Kingdom’s potential opportunities for both international and local businesses to invest in the tourism industry. 

He noted that the Hospitality Investment Enablers initiative, announced by the Ministry of Tourism within the Investment Enablers Program, is in line with Vision 2030's strategic goals

The top official said the initiative aims to increase and diversify tourism offerings, enhance the capacity of tourism hospitality facilities in tourist destinations, and attract private investments in the hospitality sector.


Closing Bell: TASI loses 34.45 points to close at 12,465 

Closing Bell: TASI loses 34.45 points to close at 12,465 
Updated 17 April 2024
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Closing Bell: TASI loses 34.45 points to close at 12,465 

Closing Bell: TASI loses 34.45 points to close at 12,465 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index closed at 12,465.98 points on Wednesday, dipping 34.45 points or 0.28 percent. 

The parallel market, Nomu, gained 92.53 points or 0.35 percent to close at 26,401.91. 

Meanwhile, the MSCI Tadawul 30 Index also slightly declined 9.29 points or 0.59 percent to conclude at 1,569.13.  

The main index posted a trading value of SR9.5 billion ($2.55 billion), with 96 stocks advancing and 131 declining. 

Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co. was the top performer on TASI as its share price surged 9.95 percent to SR21.44. Batic Investments and Logistics Co. followed with its share pricing jumping 9.27 percent to close at SR2.83. 

Saudi Ground Services Co. also performed well, climbing 9.09 percent to SR58.80. The Mediterranean and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. and Almunajem Foods Co. increased 8.53 and 6.32 percent to SR28 and SR117.80, respectively. 

Conversely, Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. recorded the most significant dip, declining 5.16 percent to SR11.40. 

Astra Industrial Group and Etihad Etisalat Co. also experienced setbacks, with their shares dropping to SR175.40 and SR51.39, reflecting declines of 3.73 and 3.39 percent, respectively. 

Saudi Chemical Co. and Saudi Real Estate Co. also reported significant losses of 3.08 percent and 2.88 percent to SR7.87 and SR22.22, respectively. 

Nomu’s top performer was Future Care Trading Co., which saw a 10.68 percent jump to SR9.64. 

Ladun Investment Co. and Mayar Holding Co. also recorded notable gains, with their shares closing at SR5.63 and SR4.10, marking an increase of 9.96 and 7.89 percent, respectively. 

Lana Medical Co. and Al-Modawat Specialized Medical Co. also fared well, as their share price increased by 7.25 and 6.92 percent, closing at SR42.90 and SR151.40. 

On Nomu, Alqemam for Computer Systems Co. was the worst performer, declining by 9.72 percent to SR90.10. Other underperformers included Saudi Parts Center Co. and Clean Life Co., whose share prices dropped 6.10 percent and 5.71 percent to SR60.0 and SR94.20, respectively. 


Chinese businesses shown NEOM opportunities as ‘Discover’ tour hits Beijing, Shanghai

Chinese businesses shown NEOM opportunities as ‘Discover’ tour hits Beijing, Shanghai
Updated 17 April 2024
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Chinese businesses shown NEOM opportunities as ‘Discover’ tour hits Beijing, Shanghai

Chinese businesses shown NEOM opportunities as ‘Discover’ tour hits Beijing, Shanghai

RIYADH: Opportunities for Chinese companies to engage with and invest in NEOM have been showcased in Beijing and Shanghai, attracting significant interest from several companies. 

The giga-project kicked off the Chinese leg of its global “Discover NEOM” tour in the capital on April 15, followed by a visit to the country’s biggest city on April 17, attracting a cumulation of over 500 business and industry leaders. 

Organized in partnership with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Beijing and CCPIT Shanghai, the events featured presentations by NEOM’s leadership team that highlighted on-the-ground progress and milestones, as well as detailed overviews of the initiative’s diverse economic sectors.  

Numerous opportunities for Chinese companies to engage and invest in the advanced urban and economic zone were showcased during these gatherings, eliciting significant interest. Many companies expressed enthusiasm and discussed concrete next steps with NEOM’s leadership, according to a release. 

“We are grateful to CCPIT Beijing and CCPIT Shanghai for supporting our visit to China and for the opportunity to present NEOM’s vision,” Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, said.  

“To date, NEOM has already engaged with over 15 major Chinese businesses and invested in a number of Chinese startups to support the growth and diversification of NEOM. Collaboration with China will continue to play a vital role in the development of NEOM, and we look forward to strengthening our engagement with the country’s business community,” he added. 

Over 100 Chinese building companies participated in the event’s construction-focused forum, which presented many collaboration opportunities. 

Furthermore, the private showcase, “Discover NEOM: A New Future by Design,” was a highlight of the events.  

It offered guests an immersive experience exploring NEOM’s developments. These included THE LINE, a 170-km-long city designed as the future of urban living; Oxagon, which is reshaping the traditional industrial model; Trojena, NEOM’s mountain resort; and Sindalah, a luxury island destination in the Red Sea set to open later this year. 

“Both Beijing and NEOM are accelerating the development of new modes of productivity, deepening comprehensive reforms, promoting scientific and technological innovation, and working to ensure the protection of our environment,” Guo Huaigang, chairman of CCPIT Beijing, said. 

“We look forward to the role our cooperation can have in Beijing’s future prosperity,” he added. 

Expressing Shanghai’s interest in fostering its relationship with Saudi Arabia, Zhao Zhuping, deputy secretary general of the Shanghai Municipal Government, stated that the entity looks forward to deepening mutually beneficial engagement with NEOM. 

“Discover NEOM China” marks the latest installment of NEOM’s global roadshow, following engagements in major international cities such as Seoul, Tokyo, and Singapore, as well as New York, Boston, and Miami. 

Paris, Berlin, and London have also been visited by the expedition. 


Saudi crude production hits 7-month high in February

Saudi crude production hits 7-month high in February
Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi crude production hits 7-month high in February

Saudi crude production hits 7-month high in February
  • The Kingdom’s crude exports rose to 6.32 million bpd or 0.32 percent: JODI data

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crude production reached a seven-month high of 9.01 million barrels per day in February, data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative showed. 

This represented a rise of 55,000 bpd or 0.61 percent compared to the previous month.  

Furthermore, the data indicated that the Kingdom’s crude exports rose to 6.32 million bpd, reflecting a monthly increase of 0.32 percent.  

In early April, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, chose to keep their existing output policy unchanged as oil prices hit a five-month high.  

Led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, OPEC+ extended voluntary output cuts of 2.2 million bpd until June to bolster the market. The decision was reached during the 53rd meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee on April 3.  

Oil prices surged due to supply constraints, attacks on Russian energy infrastructure, and conflicts in the Middle East, with Brent crude exceeding $89 a barrel.  

This extension of cuts, alongside voluntary reductions announced in April 2023, including 500,000 bpd cuts from both Saudi Arabia and Russia, now extends through December of this year. 

As a result of this decision, despite the monthly increase, crude output remains approximately 14 percent lower than the levels observed during the same month last year. 

The next JMMC meeting is scheduled for June 1.  

Refinery output 

Meanwhile, refinery crude output, representing the processed volume of crude oil yielding gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil, surged to a five-month high. It increased by 10 percent compared to the previous month, reaching 2.68 million bpd, according to JODI data. This also marked a 10 percent increase from the 2.44 million bpd recorded during the same period last year. 

As one of the world’s leading oil producers, Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in supplying these refined products to meet global energy demands. 

In February, diesel, constituting 38 percent of the total output, declined by 7 percent to 1.02 million bpd, with its percentage share decreasing from 45 percent in January. Motor aviation or jet fuel maintained a 22 percent share, experiencing an 11 percent increase to 597,000 bpd. Meanwhile, fuel oil, making up 17 percent of the total refinery output, saw a slight uptick of 0.22 percent, totaling 455,000 bpd. 

Conversely, refinery output exports surged to a 10-month high, reaching 1.39 million bpd, a 12 percent monthly increase. The most significant rise was observed in motor and aviation oil, up by 45 percent to 275,000 bpd. Fuel oil exports followed with a 38 percent increase to 219,000 bpd, while diesel oil saw a 13 percent rise to 629,000 bpd. 

In February, 62 percent of refinery diesel oil output was exported, marking the highest percentage in eight months. Fuel oil and motor and aviation gasoline followed suit with export percentages of 48 percent and 46 percent, respectively. 

Direct crude usage 

Saudi Arabia’s direct burn of crude oil, involving the utilization of oil without substantial refining processes, experienced an increase of 52,000 bpd in February, representing a 17 percent rise compared to the preceding month. The total direct burn for the month amounted to 360,000 bpd. 

The Ministry of Energy aims to enhance the contributions of natural gas and renewable sources as part of the Kingdom’s goal to achieve an optimal, highly efficient, and cost-effective energy mix. 

This involves replacing liquid fuel with natural gas and integrating renewables to constitute approximately 50 percent of the electricity production energy mix by 2030. 


Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 
Updated 17 April 2024
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Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

RIYADH: Saudi telecom provider Zain KSA has become the first operator in the Kingdom to offer a 100 percent locally made fleet tracking system for businesses.  

The new system is expected to empower businesses in Saudi Arabia to make informed decisions through comprehensive reports generated from precise data collection. 

The launch of the system, entirely made in the Kingdom for the business sector, integrates cutting-edge tracking devices that are locally designed, manufactured, and assembled under the country’s “Saudi Made” program, the company said in a statement.

The telecom company further explained that the monitoring solution is a comprehensive cloud-based platform, providing businesses of all sizes with tools to optimize logistics operations, enhance travel routes, and minimize fuel consumption. This, in turn, reduces carbon emissions, preserves the environment, and fosters sustainability.

Saad bin Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, chief business and wholesale officer at Zain KSA, said: “We are proud to be the first telecom and digital services provider to offer an integrated solution designed and developed in the Kingdom, aligning with our sustainability strategy of supporting local content.”

He added that their achievement aligns with the aspirations of the country’s leadership and Vision 2030 in enhancing the digital economy and localizing technology.

He also emphasized his company’s commitment to building an integrated technological ecosystem aiming at leveraging digitization and automation to serve and empower the productive, service, and logistical sectors across the Kingdom.

The executive further said that their fleet management method is a direct result of this commitment, and they take immense pride in being at the forefront of companies providing 100 percent national digital solutions.

The firm said in its release that by offering real-time GPS tracking, its system enhances road safety and security across the transportation and logistics sectors, empowering decision-makers with crucial insights through comprehensive reports based on accurate data.

It added that the system allows for informed decisions that boost operational efficiency and save costs.